Hesk Fell from Birker Fell Road

24th June 2017

The second of todays walk collects two Outlying fells in Hesk Fell and The Pike, both of which dominate the Birker Fell road skyline. What I found slightly odd after reading Wainwrights view of Hesk Fell as "featureless and nothing of interest" where as he described The Pike as charming and "the much better summit" I think Wainwright might have climbed Hesk Fell on a similar day as what we had today! but in my humble opinion Hesk Fell is for me, what a Outlying fell typically demonstrates.

Yes it is featureless, yes it's remote and yes it can be described as dull but isn't that what makes the fell so special, it's that reason why many return. Like many Outlying summits the steady plod over sometimes pathless ground can be unrewarding should you have your head buried looking down on your boots but if one stops to look around surely that is your reward for the slog. Today we were treated to the sound of Lapwings parading over the top of the wind, the wild grasses whistled as the wind blew through causing the 'viewer' to actually visualize the direction of the wind.

Through gaps in the cloud we were treated to views over the Dunnerdale and Coniston Fells in one direction while in the other, Whitfell and Black Combe, all from Hesk Fell.

Wainwright Guide Book
The Outlying Fells

-Hesk Fell

A dependency, The Pike, has a certain charm of surroundings the parent fell lacks and has much better charm.


Ascent: 1,285 Feet - 392 Metres
Outlying Fells: Hesk Fell
Visiting: The Pike
Weather: Remaining Overcast With Some Bright Spells. Low Cloud And High Winds Over The Summits Highs of 19°C Lows of 16°C
Parking: Woodend Bridge, Birker Fell Road
Area: Western
Miles: 4.5
Walking With: David Hall, Father Shaun Church & Rod Hepplewhite
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 2 Hours 10 Minutes
Route: Woodend Bridge, Birker Fell Road - Woodend Farm - Hesk Fell - The Pike - Crosbythwaite Bridge - Birker Fell Road - Woodend Bridge

Map and Photo Gallery


Hesk Fell from Woodend Bridge.
From the comforts of Rod's car we ate lunch while chatting and listeing to the wind and no sooner than we knew we were driving the short mile towards Woodend Birdge where Rod managed to secure his car close by. After shouldering packs once again we turned left off the fell road and onto this narrow lane before crossing Woodend Bridge with its disntinctive square arches. Up ahead is Hesk Fell which we gain by following the farm track a short while longer before being presented with an ascent via open fell side.

Views back once we leave the farm track behind towards Rough Crag and Great Worm Crag.

Looking north westerly towards Devoke Water.
It would appear that the cloud is back now obscuring Water Crag and Seat How over on the right.

Onwards and upwards towards Hesk fell summit.

We continued with the steady ascent passing a herd of cows over on our left who edged out onto the fell side the closer we got. Any remnants of a path was left behind along with a stone wall which had flanked to our right. Despite the summit never being too far away reaching it was quite tiring after trekking through hummocky grass which can cause thighs to ache and my thoughts were with Shaun who at this time who had spent the best part of all last week on the fell, aching limbs indeed but Shaun never mentioned a word as all our paces started to slow a little.

We climbed steadily into the low cloud passing over a succession of false summits before we arrived at the highest point of the summit.

Hesk Fell summit cairn.
A small collection of stone marks the highest point made slightly difficult to find as the standing stone was on its side when we arrived, so before I took this photo I managed to put it upright again.

From Hesk Fell summit we head south towards todays final summit in The Pike.

The Pike.
We continued to follow the narrow grassy path before emerging from the cloud where we were treated to this view of The Pike. After descending Hesk Fell we arrived at a Stone Wall (which we will follow back towards the car after summating The Pike) which we cross carefully via a stepped wall with a locked wooden gate found close by. We couldn't but help wonder why the gate was locked as it presented access to The Pike and wasn't damaged in any shape or form where as the top of the stone wall was starting to loosen after countless crossing by fellow fell walkers.

Views back towards Hesk fell as we head towards The Pike.

The Pike summit.
Sadly had there still been a cairn on the other side of the wall we would have braved the wind by hopping over but the wind was so strong we decided to stay on the wrong side of the summit and instead take a summit shot from the other side of the wall.


Crosbythwaite seen below as we arrive back at the stone wall.

With The Pike summit reached we turn heel and re-trace our steps and steadily climb back towards the stone wall crossing over the top before turning right and following the wall past a ruined sheepfold.

Sunlight breaks through over Crosbythwaite while Caw and the Dunnerdale Fells remain below cloud.

Crossing Crosby Gill.

After leaving the stone wall behind to our right we now pass an ancient settlement high above on our left flank, here a stone wall square in shape was once the site of ancient settlers.

The crossing of Crosby Gill was made difficult by recent rains meaning the Gill was quite deep, we soon found a large boulder which was easily gained from our side but left a rather 'long jump' onto the other side of the bank, each of us made it eagerly watched on by those who had just made it across.

Rod's car and the fell road isn't too far away now, but before we end the walk we head towards a another ancient cairn found not far away from the road.

A distant Seat How from the Ancient Cairn.

Views over towards Great Crag and Green Crag from Birker Fell Road.

The fell road was quite busy by the time we arrived back at the cars and after spotting a gap in the traffic Rod reversed his car onto the same farm track close to Woodend Bridge before heading back towards Eskdale Green. Our cars are soon reached and while kitting down we can here La'l Ratty tooting in the distance. Hands are locked once again and we each thank each other for the time spent on the fell before collectively heading off in our seperate directions, mine would be to head back onto Birker Fell road where I stopped to take this photograph of Green Crag in the distance which had dominated our view for the best part of the day.



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